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What You Need To Know Before Decorating For Your Wedding Ceremony

Mar 2, 2008
Wedding planning can be fun and sometimes a little overwhelming, especially when it comes to decorating. There are a lot of little things that can have a huge impact without taking a lot of time. While many facilities will take care of the decorating for you, most ceremony locations don't. They just don't have the staff or the demand to provide that kind of service, although they can sometimes offer advice as to what other couples have done in the past. Ask lots of questions and keep an open mind. The ceremony location, whether it be a church, park, or backyard, will likely be where you spend the least amount of time on your wedding day, but it's where the most important thing happens! You don't want to spend your entire decorating budget here, but you do want everything to be perfect.

There are a few different areas you can focus your attention on and some areas you may not want to get too caught up with. With some advanced planning and a little help from friends on the big day, your ceremony location can look almost as fantastic as you do.

Altar - A couple of well-placed flower arrangements close to the altar will have a huge impact to the atmosphere of your ceremony. The flowers can either match the bridal bouquets or be all white, or even an assortment of colors that complement your bridal party. When choosing these arrangements consider reusing the bouquets at the reception location after the ceremony, and what kind of arrangement will suit both venues. Also consider whether you want to use real or silk flowers. Silk arrangements can be a great fuss-free alternative and can be prepared well in advance of the wedding to minimize last minute stress. All you need on the wedding day is someone to set them up at the ceremony location and then bring them to the reception.

Entrance - A great way to welcome your guests to your ceremony is to add a special touch to the door or entrance so the mood is set as soon as they walk in. You could hang a wreath or two on the doors, put a planter with some potted flowers on either side of the door, or even put a sign on or near the door welcoming your guests with a love poem. Many couples use wedding programs as a way to introduce their bridal party to guests and to add special messages they may not have an opportunity to say out loud. Extra programs can be arranged in a decorated basket, or on a small table just as people enter. Plain baskets can be decorated with silk flowers or vines, which can also be prepared well before the wedding day.

Pews - You're likely to find conflicting advise about pew decorations. I personally think they're overrated and are often more hassle than they're worth. The traditional pew decoration is to tie or tape a tulle bow to the end of the pew. I've seen many weddings where the bows start to fall off as guests walk past and are seated, not to mention when the bride walks down the aisle with her fancy dress and train! If not secured carefully, pew bows can look more messy than festive, and no bride wants to be wearing pew bows an an extra accessory. An alternative to is to have a spray of fresh or silk flowers (securely) attached to the pew.

Those are the basics covered off. If you want to go all out with decorating, consider using an archway at the entrance or beginning of the aisle. The arch can be decorated with tulle, flowers, ribbons and/or garlands. Just make sure you and your escort can fit through it with ease.

You can also decorate the table where you and your honey will be signing the record of marriage. Try using some ribbons around the edge of the table, or a bouquet that complements any flowers you have closer to the altar.

A word about candles... they can be a great addition to a wedding ceremony, especially during evening celebrations, but think ahead before getting your heart set on them. During outdoor weddings, the slightest breeze can blow them out if they aren't properly protected. For indoor ceremonies, make sure you have the appropriate holders for them. I once attended a wedding where most of the guests paid more attention to the wax dripping onto the carpeted church floor than they did to the exchanging of vows. The couple had dozens of candles in fancy candelabras which looked great at the start of their sunset ceremony, but had melted into a big mess by the end. If you intend to use candles, check with the facility to make sure they will allow it, then ensure that the candles and the hot wax will be well-contained.

Make sure you visit the ceremony location often to make your decorating plans. You don't need to have any decorating surprises on your wedding day, so measure areas you want to decorate and plan accordingly. Also bring with you the person who will be setting up your decorations so they are comfortable with the arrangements and may notice if furniture has been unexpectedly moved. You won't likely have time to do the decorating yourself, and your sweetie will be too nervous to remember where things go and what they're supposed to look like, no matter how early he gets there.
About the Author
For more tips on how to decorate for your big day, visit http://www.decoratefor.com
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